Wiktionary:Information desk

Wiktionary > Discussion rooms > Information desk

You can search in the archives of Information desk:

Welcome to the Information desk of Wiktionary, a place where newcomers can ask questions about words and about Wiktionary, ask for help, or post miscellaneous ideas that don’t fit in any of the other rooms.

To start a new topic, clicking on the “+” tab, or click here: Start a new topic.

Sign your comments with four tildes (~~~~), code which produces your signature, followed by a UTC timestamp.

For past questions, see /Archives.

January 2017

Chinese words in French wiktionaryEdit

I downloaded a dump of the French Wiktionary, and was surprised to see a huge number of non-French words which (assuming I understand the structure) appear to be treated as lexemes. A majority of these are Chinese, in Chinese script. An example is '星期', which appears in https://fr.wiktionary.org/wiki/%E6%98%9F%E6%9C%9F. Based on the characters I would expect to see in French, I get about 3,076,557 lexemes (not counting inflected forms listed in the paradigms), and another 480,082 "lexemes" which contain unexpected characters. In addition to Chinese characters, there are Cyrillic, Tamil, Greek, Devanagari, etc. A few are understandable: the individual letters of the Greek alphabet, affixes (I hadn't allowed for hyphens, so affixes are showing up in my list of headwords with unexpected characters), etc.

Some other examples: французька (Ukrainian, https://fr.wiktionary.org/wiki/%D1%84%D1%80%D0%B0%D0%BD%D1%86%D1%83%D0%B7%D1%8C%D0%BA%D0%B0), アラブ首長国連邦 (Japanese, https://fr.wiktionary.org/wiki/%E3%82%A2%E3%83%A9%E3%83%96%E9%A6%96%E9%95%B7%E5%9B%BD%E9%80%A3%E9%82%A6), δόντι (Greek, https://fr.wiktionary.org/wiki/%CE%B4%CF%8C%CE%BD%CF%84%CE%B9), פרי (Hebrew, https://fr.wiktionary.org/wiki/%D7%A4%D7%A8%D7%99), återgälda (Swedish, https://fr.wiktionary.org/wiki/%C3%A5terg%C3%A4lda).

I could understand the occasional loanword with foreign language spelling, like 'fiancée' in English. But hundreds of thousands of foreign words in foreign scripts in the French wiktionary? Why? And at least as important, is there a better way to filter out foreign words from a wiktionary? I'm not talking about "real" loanwords like 'weekend' in French (and yes, I know that's a fuzzy boundary), I'm talking about words that (afaict) have no place in the dictionary of language X. The problem with my filtering method--looking for unexpected characters--is that it won't filter out foreign words that happen to use a subset of the French alphabet, like 'fish' (https://fr.wiktionary.org/wiki/fish).

BTW, I'm writing this note here because I'm a native speaker of English, and a very poor speaker of French. I suppose I could try to write the above in French, or google-translate it, but I'm not confident I'd be understood if I did that. So I'm hoping the answer is here.Mcswell (talk) 19:21, 10 January 2017 (UTC)

Every Wiktionary includes words in all languages. Equinox 19:24, 10 January 2017 (UTC)
Each Wiktionary is intended to be a dictionary of all words in all languages; the nominal language of that Wiktionary (the "xx" in "xx.wiktionary.org") is the language in which definitions are written and in which discussion takes place. But French Wiktionary is as entitled to have Chinese and Russian words as English Wiktionary is (CAT:Chinese lemmas, CAT:Russian lemmas); likewise Chinese and Russian Wiktionaries are entitled to have French and Russian words, and so on. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 19:27, 10 January 2017 (UTC)
As for getting just the French words from French Wiktionary, you need the subcategories of fr:Catégorie:Grammaire en français. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 19:30, 10 January 2017 (UTC)

Elmer (mentor)Edit

I've recently started reading about amateur radio (ham radio), in which the word Elmer is used as a literal synonym for mentor. In recent days I seen uses such as "I was given this old aerial by a local elmer, but I don't know if it works with my rig" and "the guy who elmered me".

I wondered whether this is worthy of inclusion here, but I've never started an article on this site before, and I have no idea which of your discussion rooms is most appropriate for this. I'm sure I could find a few appropriate citations for use. Google books: noun, verb. --Strolls (talk) 02:24, 11 January 2017 (UTC)

"news" and "News"Edit

It doesn't seem like there should be two pages/entries for the word news/News. Instead, I would suggest replacing the current News page with news, and having news redirect to News.

The German noun is always capitalized, which is why it is at the title News. DTLHS (talk) 19:06, 13 January 2017 (UTC)

Old Irish verbformsEdit

So I found this Old Irish verb database which has a bit of verbforms, whereas our Old Irish conjugation tables are blank for no reason. I've decided to take up the task of filling in the tables here on WT. I've started with téit and a few others. Anti-Gamz Dust (There's Hillcrest!) 02:28, 15 January 2017 (UTC)

SineBot missed an unsigned addition to a discussion pageEdit

Here. Is it possible to summon it to have it do its thing there? --Dyspeptic skeptic (talk) 21:41, 19 January 2017 (UTC)

As far as I know that bot only operates on Wikipedia. DTLHS (talk) 21:44, 19 January 2017 (UTC)
We usually manually add the template {{unsigned|[username]|[date]}} or {{unsignedip|[IP address]|[date]}}. --WikiTiki89 22:05, 19 January 2017 (UTC)
Thanks. Done. (By the way, Template:unsignedip is redirected to Template:unsigned.) --Dyspeptic skeptic (talk) 01:41, 21 January 2017 (UTC)

Error on 'Translation requests (Polish)Edit

I've been adding a few Polish translations to various terms, and I noticed that the word 'być' is listed on the page Category:Translation requests (Polish). The problem is that it is a Polish word, meaning 'to be' (it is a word in also Lower Sorbian, but the meaning is the same and there is no translation section there for that language anyway). I can't remove it just by going to the 'edit' page because the page seems to be automatically generated. Any help would be very much appreciated. N Oneemuss (talk) 14:40, 21 January 2017 (UTC)

I believe the entry is placed in that category due to a quotation on the Polish entry być not having an English translation (the one under sense 4). You should be able to remove it from the category either by translating it or removing the quotation (I recommend the former). — Kleio (t · c) 14:50, 21 January 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for the advice. I'll translate the quotation. N Oneemuss (talk) 14:55, 21 January 2017 (UTC)

quotation; germane; test editEdit

i made an edit to add a quotation for 'germane'; arthur golding trans. of ovid's metamorphoses lines;460-2 bk. 1. it was deleted as a test edit. what did i do wrong? look the quote up, this is honest, true, fact. i do believe it does cast a question on the shakespeare/ hamlet/ german assumption. —This unsigned comment was added by (talk).

  • It looks like it was removed because you added it as plain text with no formatting. By the way, your keyboard probably has a key allowing you to type uppercase letters. SemperBlotto (talk) 21:40, 22 January 2017 (UTC)
Your quotation isn't for the word "germane", it's german. DTLHS (talk) 21:43, 22 January 2017 (UTC)
DLTHS is right. I've salvaged the quote you added and put it on the entry for german. You can look at the source code of that entry to see how to format quotes in the future. In any case, thanks for contributing! — Kleio (t · c) 21:51, 22 January 2017 (UTC)

phrases around the caseEdit

See also:

d1g (talk) 12:03, 23 January 2017 (UTC)

Avoir lieu means "to take place." "That is the case" is simply "c'est le cas" in French. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 17:55, 23 January 2017 (UTC)

User warning templatesEdit

Am I allowed to create a user warning template to warn users or can administrators only do that? Pkbwcgs (talk) 18:03, 23 January 2017 (UTC)

I think that's fine. What warning do you want to create? DTLHS (talk) 18:07, 23 January 2017 (UTC)
@Pkbwcgs: In case you didn't see: Category:User warning templates. —Justin (koavf)TCM 18:11, 23 January 2017 (UTC)
Thank you. Pkbwcgs (talk) 18:12, 23 January 2017 (UTC)

Possible alterrnative etymology for 'anthropology' (not mentioned in that article in Wiktionary)Edit

I have added a notion on subject to discussion about 'anthropos' at discussion about 'anthropos'. I got notified there that my addition to discussion could get undetected so I also post notification here. Marjan T. 16:22, 25 January 2017 (UTC)

But is an encyclopedia of philosophy a trustworthy source of etymological information? — Ungoliant (falai) 16:41, 25 January 2017 (UTC)
Do note that that derivation is specifically listed on the cited website in the context of speculative (ancient) etymology. The encyclopedia itself is quite trustworthy. — Kleio (t · c) 19:15, 25 January 2017 (UTC)


There is no "Serbo - Croatian" language.

That is only for the Serbs, Croats, and Bosnians. For Australians, South Africans, Brits, and Americans, Serbo-Croatian does exist. When we study the language of Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, or Montenegro, we study Serbo-Croatian. —Stephen (Talk) 11:09, 28 January 2017 (UTC)
@Stephen G. Brown: What? —Justin (koavf)TCM 11:18, 28 January 2017 (UTC)
Serbs, Croats, and Bosnians generally do not admit the existence of Serbo-Croatian. Americans, Brits, South Africans, Australians, and New Zealanders are open to the idea that it does exist, and if you learn it, you can speak and understand Serbian, Croatian, and Bosnian. You just have to remember to tell Serbians that you speak Serbian, Croats that you speak Croat, and Bosnians that you speak Bosnian. A few other minor adjustments, depending on who you're talking to. —Stephen (Talk) 11:25, 28 January 2017 (UTC)
In other words, the distinction is purely political, not linguistic. There are linguistic differences within Serbo-Croatian, of course, but they don't correspond to the artificial Serbian vs. Croatian vs. Bosnian (vs. Montenegrin) distinctions. You've Got to Be Carefully Taught. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 12:38, 28 January 2017 (UTC)

Could someone give me the gist of this paragraph (in Chinese)Edit

http://imgur.com/8pjvnw5l.png Thanks in advance.

(it's about the variation of the futuritive participle in Eastern Yugur.) Crom daba (talk) 16:53, 28 January 2017 (UTC)

@Crom daba Translation:
The affix, after imperfect tense of adjectival verbs ending in certain consonants, is sometimes in the form of -kə/-qə, coexisting with -gə/-ɢə. For example, hog-kə (hog-gə) “to beat”, ɢailəɢ-qə (ɢailəɢ-ɢə) “to float”.
Adjectival verbs in Eastern Yugur are the same as adjectives in that they can also represent the name of the person or thing associated with the movement represented by the adjectival verb. In these cases, the word can decline with respect to number and case like a noun, but only the continuative form can be affixed to form the plural, only the continuative and imperfect forms can have various case affixes, and the perfective forms can usually only be followed by conjugational (?) and case suffixes.
Examples of plural affixes after continuative forms of adjectival verbs:
Wyang (talk) 04:54, 1 February 2017 (UTC)
Thanks! Crom daba (talk) 15:29, 1 February 2017 (UTC)

February 2017

Two questionsEdit

Hello, is there a gathering place for people editing and adding words belonging to the same language to discuss things like what is being done, what needs to be done, etc.? A bit like portals or projects on Wikipedia. Second question, is there a plan to make the different Wiktionaries more homogenous, template or layout wise? Orgyn (talk) 12:25, 1 February 2017 (UTC)

The talk page of the relevant "About language X" page (e.g. Wiktionary talk:About French) is often a good place to coordinate work on a specific language, or else the Beer Parlor, but of course that isn't language-specific. I don't think there's any attempt to homogenize the different language versions of Wiktionary (en-wikt, de-wikt, fr-wikt, etc.). It would be an enormous undertaking and require consensus at all projects, which is probably unattainable. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 12:42, 1 February 2017 (UTC)
@Orgyn: Regarding harmonization of the various editions of Wiktionary, you can see d:Wikidata:Wiktionary (which is Wikidata's discussion about integrating structured data into this project) and m:OmegaWiki (which is a proposal to adopt OmegaWiki). The road toward anything like that is several years away, though. —Justin (koavf)TCM 17:30, 1 February 2017 (UTC)
Thanks! The "About xxx" page is exactly what I was looking for. The Wikidata project is very interesting! Orgyn (talk) 14:23, 2 February 2017 (UTC)

Reference ListEdit

I entered a second definition in "Dunder" and tried to include a reference, but I must have not done it correctly because it does not show on the save page. Skelta Skelta (talk) 01:08, 3 February 2017 (UTC)

@Skelta: We don't have w:en:Template:Reflist here, so you can just use the MediaWiki tag <references /> to generate them. There are several templates in Category:Citation templates if you'd like to convert it from the way I edited the entry. —Justin (koavf)TCM 01:14, 3 February 2017 (UTC)
Are you sure that this definition is distinct from the one already present? DTLHS (talk) 01:16, 3 February 2017 (UTC)

Latin vowel lengthsEdit

Sometimes different sources give different vowel lengths.

  • L&S omits the length of the last syllable or the ending of the nominative singular. — This is simply a deficiency of L&S.
  • Georges has -o instead of -ō for (a) the verb ending for 1.ps.sg. ind.pres. act. (e.g. laudo) and (b) 3rd declension nouns with genitive -onis (e.g. regio). — Maybe Georges omits the ending in this case similar to L&S or maybe there were other views about the length of the o.
  • In case of foreign words and some New Latin words the vowel length might be unknown or disputed.
    • Finnish Nuntii Latini once had gāsum but changed it to gasum in 2016. — Maybe they had a long vowel because Finnish and German have a long vowel in their word for gas and maybe they changed it because Romance languages have a short vowel. In this case a short vowel might be more likely, but there might be other cases.
  • Some words were different sources give different lengths: iuxta/juxta, some forms of lugeo, punctum and punctus, stella.
    It seems like older or Romance sources (French Gaffiot, English L&S) prefer short vowels, while younger and Germanic sources (German Georges, German Pons, Dutch LaNe) prefer long vowels. Lewis' Elementary Latin Dictionary which is younger than Lewis' and Short's Latin-English Lexicon and Frieze-Dennison's lexicon to Vergil's Aeneid are in between both.
    Maybe it's similar to iuxta#Usage notes, that the origin implies a long vowel while Romance descendents imply a short vowel.


  • Should there be a category or/and an appendix for words with disputed vowel lengths?
  • Are there patterns?
    iuxta/juxta, forms of lugeo, punctum and punctus contain u followed by multiple consonants. unctus and unctor for example also have an u followed by multiple consonants and again give different dictionaries different vowel lengths.
  • Could there be a template to add information like in iuxta#Usage notes?

- 05:31, 5 February 2017 (UTC)

@ There should definitely be a category for Latin words with disputed vowel lengths. In Latin, when a vowel is followed by multiple consonants at a syllabic boundary, the first of those consonants is applied to the first syllable (with some exceptions, vide infra), rendering it heavy, meaning that that vowel's quantity is hidden from inference by scansion; that is the pattern you're noticing. We could indeed have a template for such information; cf. {{U:la:stop+liquid poetic stress alteration}}. — I.S.M.E.T.A. 16:11, 15 February 2017 (UTC)

manoeuvering versus manoevring: keep or omit the final e in British English?Edit

Many dictionaries prefer manoeuvring for both the gerund and the substantive. Thus your entry offers, for the moment, a minority view as if it was standard.

Although the entry manoeuvering doesn't say anything about standardness, the entry manoeuver does say it's a nonstandard alternative spelling (which in my opinion is a euphemism for "misspelling", but other people may feel differently). Certainly the most common spellings are manoeuvre in GB-based spelling and maneuver in US-based spelling. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 15:24, 5 February 2017 (UTC)

Calling people "things"Edit

Consider this sentence:

"I see three things in this room: a teacup, a man and a dog."

Is it wrong and/or offensive to call people "things" in English like this? --Daniel Carrero (talk) 18:44, 9 February 2017 (UTC)

@Daniel Carrero: No. A "thing" can be an object like a cup or a bicycle--calling a person a "thing" in that example would be offensive. A "thing" can also be basically the same thing as a noun—a person, place, object, state of affairs, or idea. "My favorite things in the world are roller coasters and my grandma" is not at all offensive. —Justin (koavf)TCM 01:56, 10 February 2017 (UTC)
It depends on how you emphasise thing too. Unless one were to stress the word thing, implying that the person in the room is not to be considered more than a "thing", I think it would be fine. I wouldn't call a person a "thing" though, but I think referring to persons in groups of nouns that consist of things as "things" is okay. Leasnam (talk) 02:29, 10 February 2017 (UTC)
thing can be an affectionate term: you silly thing!, you sweet thing!, you handsome thing!, you old thing!, you clever thing!, she's a pretty little thing! —Stephen (Talk) 05:01, 10 February 2017 (UTC)
As suggested above, it's often okay in a general sense, but it would be strange and impolite to use it for individuals, e.g. "I need to talk to that thing over there". Equinox 20:52, 10 February 2017 (UTC)

shut the fuck upEdit

Why was the entry shut the fuck up deleted (eight years ago)? It is a legitimate phrase, but the page can’t be recreated. Why does STFU exist but not shut the fuck up?
PapíDimmi (talk | contribs) 04:46, 11 February 2017 (UTC)

To me, this looks like a SOP of shut up and the fuck. Note that the latter has a sense "Used after verbs forming a part of a phrasal verb [...]" with examples like "Get the fuck out [...]" and "Drive the fuck off [...]". STFU is an abbreviation. --Daniel Carrero (talk) 04:48, 11 February 2017 (UTC)
STFU having an entry does not automatically legitimise one for its expansion; e.g. people might want to know what YHBT stands for, but the expansion you have been trolled is a normal sentence, not requiring an entry. Equinox 13:36, 11 February 2017 (UTC)

Kansai dialect accent infoEdit

I haven't edited anything before, but I'd like to add Kansai dialect accent information for the Japanese word entries. I've seen that someone has added the accent information for the Tokyo dialect and that they used the NHK accent dictionary as a source. I have a different book I can use for Kansai-ben accents (全国アクセント辞典), so this endeavor won't be an issue. However, I saw that the Tokyo dialect had IPA transcriptions but no source for these. Are IPA transcriptions created from the editor's phonological knowledge of the dialect?

--于雪森 (talk) 05:43, 14 February 2017 (UTC)

@Yu Xuesen Welcome to Wiktionary!
The 標準語 IPA is generated by code at Module:ja-pron.
As for Kansaiben, if it is of interest, we do have a handful of pre-existing entries which include Osaka pitch accent (but only a handful—most added very recently by User:MihailJP).
(While we're on the topic, and I don't mean to derail your original question, but is terminology such as "heiban" really applicable to Kansai-ben? such as at 木#Pronunciation_2, where formatting intended for Tokyo-style heiban accent is applied over "きい".)
suzukaze (tc) 06:19, 14 February 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for explaining the 標準語 IPA! That makes a lot of sense (It'd probably be better to not add IPA for Kansai-ben since I can't ensure its accuracy).
You're totally not derailing this; I actually was just looking at the entry for 木 too and was quite perplexed how it could be called heiban. At least for 標準語・東京弁、that definition is workable, but since Kansai-ben can have a low flat pitch or a high flat pitch, it seems quite erroneous to call it heiban. The accent dictionary I have uses a system of numbering, but it's sort of arcane, and I don't think it would be very useful or intuitive for the reader. It might be better to just use the typical "line over the kana" format, especially since Kansai-ben can have really unusual accent patterns that are impossible in 標準語 (こばん、for example).
—This unsigned comment was added by Yu Xuesen (talkcontribs) at 18:50, 14 February 2017.
Maybe code for IPA could be developed for Kansai-ben as well. The current Module:ja-pron code works by processing merely kana.
Maybe we could add both the lines and the numbers, if the numbers have a method to their madness. wikipedia:ja:京阪式アクセント#類別 also seems to have some sort of numbered category. (@Eirikr, TAKASUGI Shinji, kc kennylau, MihailJP, Wyang, any opinions? )suzukaze (tc) 23:50, 15 February 2017 (UTC)
IPA code for Kansai-ben would be fantastic, but I have entirely no idea how I would go about creating that. :/
Both lines and numbers would be awesome. It might take me a second to figure out how to work that. There seems to already be a template, but it might have to be edited, yeah?
于雪森 (talk) 23:56, 15 February 2017 (UTC)
I can't imagine it would be too difficult to find references about the phonology of Kansai-ben.
For the lines and stuff, currently the search results above use Template:ja-accent-common but the template is designed for Tokyo accent (hence the "heiban" stuff, I guess). Probably needs reworking. Alternatively, Module:ja-pron actually does both lines and IPA for the standard dialect, and similar code would also do both for Kansai-ben. —suzukaze (tc) 08:18, 16 February 2017 (UTC)

Can the developers change the font for mobile (iOS)?Edit

Hi Wikionary, can the font be changed so that it displays San Francisco instead of Helvetica (Neue)? I find it easier to read when on mobile. Keep the font Georgia as it is. This should also apply globally across Wikimedia projects. Thank you! – AWESOME meeos * (chōmtī hao /t͡ɕoːm˩˧.tiː˩˧ haw˦˥/) 05:58, 15 February 2017 (UTC)

@Awesomemeeos: This is only a partial solution but you can edit User:Awesomemeeos/common.css to get this outcome for yourself when you are logged in. —Justin (koavf)TCM 06:56, 15 February 2017 (UTC)
@Koavf It does not work for mobile view. Only works for desktop view. The link is actually hereAWESOME meeos * (chōmtī hao /t͡ɕoːm˩˧.tiː˩˧ haw˦˥/) 06:59, 15 February 2017 (UTC)
@Awesomemeeos: Wow. You learn something new every day. I'd recommend you post to phabricator: if we can't change our own settings on mobile or if there is a font that is clearly much more readable on mobile. —Justin (koavf)TCM 07:15, 15 February 2017 (UTC)

Categorizing transliterated names (separate from native given names)?Edit

Currently, Category:Gothic given names is (with one reconstructed exception) full of names that are, well, not Gothic given names, like 𐌰𐌹𐌻𐌴𐌹𐍃𐌰𐌱𐌰𐌹𐌸(Aileisabaiþ, Elizabeth). They're transcriptions of Biblical names which are not attested outside the Bible as being used as names for actual Gothic persons. I'm intending to remove the entries in that category from that specific category, but I think it'd still be neat to have a category listing which transliterated names are attested in Gothic texts (transliteration is a very valuable source of information on pronunciation and spelling conventions).

So I was wondering if there is a precedent or system in place for this: a category which lists given names from other languages that are not in use as actual given names in the "target language", but have been adapted to the writing system of that language -- e.g. Nebuchadnezzar in English. (There are also attested actual Gothic names in their original Gothic spellings, in the two Ostrogothic Deeds and in the Gothic Calendar, which do have a place in the Gothic given name category and which I will add sometime in the near future.) — Kleio (t · c) 17:57, 16 February 2017 (UTC)

Nebuchadnezzar itself is in CAT:en:Biblical characters and CAT:en:Individuals, but not CAT:English given names. Probably 𐌰𐌹𐌻𐌴𐌹𐍃𐌰𐌱𐌰𐌹𐌸 could be treated the same way. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 22:19, 16 February 2017 (UTC)
That should do for now. — Kleio (t · c) 18:36, 19 February 2017 (UTC)

Force spellingEdit

How to force spelling. I search of can create the word "Spolí", but system redirects me to "spoli", which is something else.--Juandev (talk) 16:07, 18 February 2017 (UTC)

If you are redirected it means there is no article for it. If you want to create an entry for a word like this type the word and select "Containig..." there you will see an appropriate red link.--Dixtosa (talk) 16:42, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
I have added an also template to the spoli entry. You can use the red link there to add Spoli. SemperBlotto (talk) 18:50, 18 February 2017 (UTC)

Given names of famous peopleEdit

uShaka is obviously a very famous Zulu name, and definitely warrants inclusion, but I'm not sure how to define it. It's known as the name of this particular person, but are there other people with this name as well? That is, should I define it as w:Shaka or {{given name|zu}} or both? —CodeCat 21:06, 18 February 2017 (UTC)

IMO, do both. But the given name should come first — AWESOME meeos * (chōmtī hao /t͡ɕoːm˩˧.tiː˩˧ haw˦˥/) 10:48, 21 February 2017 (UTC)

Can you nominate yourself as an autopatrollerEdit

Hi anyone, is it possible for this to happen? — AWESOME meeos * (chōmtī hao /t͡ɕoːm˩˧.tiː˩˧ haw˦˥/) 10:48, 21 February 2017 (UTC)